LG Electronics (LG) unveiled a series of new smart appliances at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that reflect the company’s vision for a more connected, eco-friendly lifestyle. Underpinned by the evolving Smart ThinQ technology, the new smart appliances are equipped with innovative device-to-device connectivity features and the Home Energy Management System (HeMS). With such technological advances, LG is opening up a new era in user convenient and efficient home management with savings in energy and electricity bills.
“LG’s leadership in smart appliance development has been in pursuing technological advancements that will make customers’ lives more convenient and ultimately upgrade their quality of life,” said Moon-bum Shin, Executive Vice President and CEO of LG Electronics Home Appliance Company. “Device-to-device connectivity with smartphones and between LG appliances is a new and exciting way for us to realize this goal. By doing so, LG can help customers handle their housework in a smarter manner by saving time, money and energy.”
LG has differentiated its smart appliances with LG’s advanced and highly complementary technologies. LG’s four Core Technologies – the Linear Compressor, the Inverter Direct Drive, the Infrared Grill technology and the KOMPRESSOR technology – enable superior performance, while Smart ThinQ technologies – Smart Manager, Smart Diagnosis, Smart Access, Smart Adapt and Smart Grid – bring smart savings and enhanced convenience to consumers. Technology enthusiasts will notice that LG’s Smart ThinQ technologies have evolved a great deal since their introduction at CES 2011. Furthermore, LG’s smart refrigerators and smart washing machines are now connected to Smart TVs, which enables convenient monitoring of the operational status of the two appliances.
Device-to-Device Connectivity: Building a Smarter Home
The most surprising feature among this year’s LG smart appliances is undoubtedly the enhanced device-to-device connectivity, which enables LG’s smart refrigerators and smart washing machines to be monitored from a Smart TV, or a smartphone. For instance, customers can check the laundry status from their TV screen without being physically present in the laundry room.
The Smart Refrigerator Gets Smarter with the Enhanced Smart Manager
Underpinned by the company’s signature Linear Compressor, which comes with a 10-year warranty, LG’s showpiece smart French-door refrigerator is equipped with a full range of Smart ThinQ technologies. Key among them is Smart Manager, which transforms the refrigerator into a complete food management system. Customers can use the refrigerator’s LCD panel or their smartphones to check the food items stored inside, as well as their location and expiration date. Using the Smart Manager's Freshness Tracker, customers can also enter various food items, such as eggs, milk and vegetables, and check their suggested expiration dates. Additionally, the refrigerator recommends dishes that can be cooked using the ingredients available in the refrigerator.
There are multiple ways to record the food items stored in the refrigerator. Customers can select icons from the panel or use voice recognition technology. Additionally, grocery receipts can be scanned using smartphones, allowing the refrigerator to automatically download the food item list. If customers do not have the receipts, barcodes can also be scanned with smartphones to input the food item.
Smart Shopping is another new feature for Smart Manager, which offers online grocery shopping directly from the refrigerator’s LCD panel or from a smartphone. A shopping list is created by selecting food items from the inventory, which will be loaded onto Smart Shopping by pressing the “Go Shopping” button. Customers can purchase these food items from the refrigerator’s LCD panel or through smartphone, while items not on the list can be searched for and selected manually by the customer. These features eliminate the hassle of having to write down grocery shopping lists the old-fashioned way, or the need to visit the grocery store, saving time and increasing convenience.
This year, the Smart Manager includes LG’s unique Health Manager feature, which recommends recipes based on personal profiles. The customer’s age, sex, weight and height information is used to determine the BMI Index, which is then used to select menus suitable to the customers’ physical condition. This feature is particularly useful for customers with medical conditions that require special diets, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or food allergies, as well as for customers on a weight-loss program. The Health Manager even recommends daily or weekly family meal plans based on the personal profile, while also providing recipes for each dish. Should customers wish to cook a recommended dish, the customer can select the dish and press “Send to Oven,” which sends the necessary information to a LG Smart Oven and automatically arranges the proper oven settings.
The Smart Access feature lets customers check the status of their LG appliances from Smartphones, regardless of their geographic location. For refrigerators, customers can check food items that are running low in quantity, while they are at a grocery store. With Smart Access, customers can reduce accidental double purchases and save on grocery costs.
Meanwhile, LG’s Smart Diagnosis feature helps customer service representatives to quickly and efficiently troubleshoot mechanical issues. Once the customer contacts the LG service center by phone, a technician will direct the customer to press the “Smart Diagnosis™” button, which then triggers a series of signals that the service center uses to determine the faults and errors and whether a service call is required. In addition, customers can be directly alerted through their Smartphones about minor issues, such as when the door is left open or the ice-maker is switched off.
The refrigerator is also Smart Grid-ready. In turn, once local utility companies begin offering Smart Grid-compatible, differentiated energy-rate time slots, the refrigerator will automatically readjust its temperature and function settings to take advantage of optimum energy rates on a daily basis. It offers a smart saving solution to save energy while keeping food fresh. In addition to the Smart Grid-ready feature, LG’s smart refrigerator also offers the “Night Saving Mode,” which reduces energy consumption for up to four hours at nighttimes and a “Customize Saving Mode” that cuts back on energy use during periods pre-set by the customer.
The smart refrigerator also offers useful and entertaining functions, such as access to digital photo albums, calendars, text memos and news reports. Voice memo function will also soon be added.
A Smart Washing Machine with the World’s First Wi-Fi Smart Diagnosis
Another highlight at CES 2012 is LG’s smart washing machine, which incorporates Smart Diagnosis, Smart Access, Smart Adapt and Smart Grid-ready features. Smart Diagnosis™ has undergone an impressive upgrade for the smart washing machine, an effort which resulted this year in the washing machine’s Wi-Fi Certification from the Wi-Fi Alliance. This addition enables LG’s washer to self-diagnose its problems via Wi-Fi connection. Should a problem, such as a water input issue, occur with the washer, Wi-Fi Smart Diagnosis quickly and efficiently helps troubleshoot, limiting costly, inconvenient service calls and in-home visits. Also, a downloadable smartphone application alerts customers about less significant problems, such as when the door is left open.
Like the refrigerator, the washing machine uses Smart Access to keep owners connected, regardless of their location. Customers no longer need to worry when leaving the house with the washer running as Smart Access makes it possible to monitor the operational status of the washer and the dryer while on the go. Certain functions, such as changing the pre-programmed wash time or adding fabric softener, can be adjusted remotely and pop-up messages on the smartphone signal when the wash cycle is finished. Customers can also check the status of their wash from their living rooms through a Smart TV.
Meanwhile, Smart Adapt lets customers download new washing cycle programs -- such as Super Rinse and Baby Sanitize -- through smartphones or the washing machine’s LCD panel.
Smart HOM-BOT: A Vacuum and So Much More
The Smart HOM-BOT is a remotely controlled vacuum cleaner that uses the Smart Access feature to allow customers to start their Smart HOM-BOT and monitor the vacuum’s progress from remote locations. Techies will love its advanced control features, as the HOM-BOT can be steered via smartphones in a manner similar to a remote-control car. In turn, customers can remotely roam their house while using the HOM-BOT’s camera eye for navigation. Furthermore, while outside their homes, customers can use a smartphone application to use their roving HOM-BOT to communicate with their family in any room.
In addition, the smart mapping navigation enabled by the robotic cleaner’s triple eye camera helps LG’s vacuum to clean smarter, faster and more efficiently than randomly moving cleaners. The Smart HOM-BOT is equipped with LG’s innovative learning algorithm, which memorizes mapping information to calculate optimal paths for future cleaning sessions.
A Smarter Oven for Smarter Cooking
LG’s Smart Oven comes equipped with Smart Access, Smart Adapt and Smart Diagnosis, which open up a whole new array of smarter cooking possibilities. Smart Access enables customers to monitor cooking settings, such as time and temperature, via their mobile devices. With Smart Adapt, customers can send cooking time information by smartphone directly to the oven to make sumptuous dishes via the oven’s auto-cooking function. Smart Diagnosis™ enables consumers to diagnose simple problems, using a smartphone application or through direct contact with the customer service center for a quick and efficient diagnosis and troubleshooting.
The smart oven is equipped with LG’s unique Infrared Grill technology, a unique technology that cooks food more naturally and evenly throughout, while saving time and energy. The Infrared Grill is a new, tastier and healthier way to perform convenient, gourmet cooking. The freestanding electric single oven is the largest oven in the industry at 6.2 cubic feet, allowing consumers to cook large dishes without the need to cut up key ingredients. With the large-capacity oven, customers can enjoy dishes cooked as a whole, like an entire holiday turkey.
Extending Smart Concept from Connectivity to Total Home Management
LG’s Home Energy Management System (HeMS) is an ultra-intelligent companion to the Smart Grid technology that manages smart appliances, lighting and HVAC in a power-efficient manner. Through a smart meter, HeMS collects energy usage data throughout a home. Customers can monitor the electricity usage of each smart appliance by the hour, day, month or year. The overall energy consumption in a home and the resulting costs can be monitored as well. The collected data can be viewed anytime, anywhere through PCs and smartphones, enhancing convenience for customers. HeMS even suggests ways through which overall energy consumption can be reduced, empowering customers with ways to save on their electricity bills, while doing their part in helping the environment.